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In past centuries, when Poland was still a kingdom, the Polish gentry had the motto: “God, Honor, Fatherland”/”Bóg, Honor, Ojczyzna”, where God was always in the leading position as religion is said to have remained an important element of Polish consciousness and identity.
When talking about Poland, “religion” often means “Catholicism”. About 87% of Poles are Roman Catholics, although this number may be overestimated as the statistics often include people who were baptised Catholic, even if they later abandoned the Church. Anyway, Catholics make the most significant religious group and this religion is a subject studied at school, even though this is not obligatory.
The most esteemed person for many Poles was John Paul II, the Polish Pope (1920-2005). His popularity is based upon his many pilgrimages and his open attitude towards people, and among the youth he often surpassed the fame of current singers and actors. John Paul II was also known as a supporter of the ecumenical movement, and he played an important role in the fall of communism in Poland.
There are many places in Poland that are considered holy by Christians, particularly Catholics. The most renowned is the imposing monastery of Jasna Góra in Częstochowa, where the monastery church contains the miraculous icon of the Black Madonna. The latter is the reason why many thousands of people make pilgrimages here, particularly for August 15th, the Day of the Assumption of St Mary. Among other pilgrimage centres in Poland are Licheń, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Łagiewniki in Kraków, Święta Lipka, Niepokalanów, Wambierzyce, and Góra Świętej Anny.
The other religions of Poland today are predominantly Christian, including Byzantine Catholics (Uniates), Orthodox Christians, Armenians, Old-Believers, Evangelical Reformed, Evangelical Augsburg, Evangelical Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventists, Pentecostals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses. There are also communities of Muslims, Jews, Karaims, and Hare Krishnas.
I’m a …- jestem …
Christian – chrześcijaninem
Muslim – muzułmaninem
Buddhist – buddystą
Protestant – protestantem
Catholic – katolikiem
I’m Jewish – jestem Żydem
do you believe in God? – wierzysz w Boga?
do you believe in life after death? – wierzysz w życie po śmierci?
do you believe in reincarnation? – wierzysz w reinkarnację?
is there a … near here? – czy jest tu w pobliżu … ?
church – kościół
mosque – meczet
synagogue – synagoga
temple – świątynia
According to Poland’s Constitution freedom of religion is ensured to everyone. It also allows for national and ethnic minorities to have the right to establish educational and cultural institutions, institutions designed to protect religious identity, as well as to participate in the resolution of matters connected with their cultural identity.